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GLIN==> News Release: Beetles Take a Bite out of Purple Loosestrife
- Subject: GLIN==> News Release: Beetles Take a Bite out of Purple Loosestrife
- From: Joyce Daniels <email@example.com>
- Date: Fri, 30 May 2003 16:13:30 -0700
- Delivered-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Delivered-To: email@example.com
- List-Name: GLIN-Announce
Title: News Release: Beetles Take a Bite out of Purple
DATE: May 30, 2003
Joyce Daniels, (734) 647-0766, firstname.lastname@example.org
Douglas Landis, (517) 353-1829, email@example.com
Michael Klepinger, (517) 353-5508, firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos available at
BEETLES TAKE A BITE OUT OF
NATIVE PLANTS RECOVER IN SOME MICHIGAN WETLANDS
The colorful but ecologically invasive purple loosestrife plant
has lost its dominance in some Michigan wetlands, according to
research funded in part by Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State
University. This aquatic nuisance species, known for its showy spikes
of pinkish-purple flowers, blooms from early July until mid August in
the lower part of the Great Lakes basin.
In an article published in the online version of the journal
Biological Control, researchers led by entomologist Doug Landis of
Michigan State University report that Galerucella beetles, one
of the plant's natural enemies, have established large populations
in three mid Michigan locations and caused 100 percent defoliation of
purple loosestrife. The beetles were originally released there by the
Michigan Department of Natural Resources in 1994. One of the most
dramatic transformations has occurred at Crow Island State Game Area
between Saginaw and Bay City.
"At one time, the area had hundreds of acres of marshland with
very heavy infestations of purple loosestrife," says Landis.
"Right now it's hard to find flowering loosestrife within
several miles of the release sites." Landis says the results show
that biological control is working in Michigan. He is also very
encouraged that many varieties of native plants are making a
"We now have the first clear evidence that the number of plant
species increases when purple loosestrife is reduced," says
Landis. "It's a very slow transition from a plant community
dominated by loosestrife to one that is much more diverse, with as
many as 15 other plants in a given square meter."
>From 1995 to 2000, the beetles reduced purple loosestrife stem height
by 73 to 85 percent, according to researchers. Stunted plants are an
early sign that the beetles are beginning to have an impact.
STUDENTS, TEACHERS PLAY IMPORTANT ROLE IN CONTROLLING PURPLE
Students, teachers, naturalists and volunteers throughout Michigan
can take credit for releasing Galerucella beetles in more than
100 sites in 2002 as part of the Purple Loosestrife Project. (See
http://www.miseagrant.umich.edu/pp) Since the innovative
biological control program began in 1997, thousands of educators and
students have participated in the project.
"It's a unique hands-on opportunity that allows participants to
learn about Michigan's natural resources while helping to restore
wetland biodiversity," says Michigan Sea Grant Specialist Mike
Klepinger who coordinates the project with Landis.
Participants obtain a small number of beetles from Cooperative
Biological Control centers located around the state or from the U.S.
Department of Agriculture laboratory in Niles, Mich., and release them
in stands of loosestrife.
TO IDENTIFY PURPLE LOOSESTRIFE AND OTHER AQUATIC NUISANCE
Not sure what purple loosestrife looks like? Wallet-size
identification cards make it easy to identify purple loosestrife when
it blooms in mid July. The cards include a color photo, a brief
history of the plant, a description of why it's a problem in
Michigan, and tips on how to help control its spread.
To order the purple loosestrife i.d. card, as well as cards for six
other aquatic nuisance species, contact Michigan Sea Grant at (734)
764-1118, by email at email@example.com or on the web at
Michigan Sea Grant is a cooperative program of the University of
Michigan and Michigan State University in Great Lakes research,
education and outreach. It is supported by the NOAA/National Sea Grant